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VK Pandian Withdraws From Active Politics After BJD’s Defeat, Says ‘Sorry If Campaign Narrative Against Me…’ |

Senior BJD leader V K Pandian, a close aide to Odisha’s outgoing chief minister Naveen Patnaik, announced on Sunday that he is withdrawing from active politics following the regional party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections. The former bureaucrat who switched to politics said in a video message, “Now I consciously decide to withdraw myself from active politics. I am sorry if I have hurt anyone in this journey. I am sorry if this campaign narrative against me has had a part to play the Biju Janata Dal’s loss. My apologies to the entire Biju Parivaar including all the ‘karmis’ for this.”

Pandian claimed that the only reason he entered politics was to support Patnaik, which is why he chose not to run for office. After winning 78 seats in the 147-member assembly, the BJP overthrew the BJD’s 24-year rule in Odisha. Although the Congress won 14 seats and the CPI (M) one, the Patnaik-led party secured 51 seats. The BJP secured 20 seats in the state’s Lok Sabha, while the Congress won one, leaving the BJD without a single seat. “I will always keep Odisha in core of my heart and my Guru Naveen Babu in my breath,” he added.

Earlier on Saturday, BJD leader and former Odisha chief minister said that criticism of his aide V K Pandian for the party’s disaster was “unfortunate” and that he performed a “great job.” This was Patnaik’s first remarks about Pandian following the shocking election defeat.

Patnaik said, “He (Pandian) is a person of integrity and honesty and should be remembered for that,” in the face of intense anger from party leaders and members who held the Tamil Nadu-born bureaucrats responsible for the party’s dismal election performance.

Nonetheless, the five-term chief minister reaffirmed in the same sentence that Pandian was not to be his successor and that the people of Odisha would select their own leader.